When the world hands you a shutdown…
GHC responds to COVID with outreach that connects
Listening, learning, and responding is at the core of our work at Glass House Collective. Having moved in this way within Glass Farm for over seven years we were in a ready position to pivot some of our work in support of our neighbors during the COVID 19 shutdown.
“As an artist whose work reflects the time, working with an organization that does the same is synergy,” said Glass House Collective’s Creative Strategist, Erika Roberts. Erika has been at the center of our response to COVID and is at the heart of all our engagement work since joining our team in 2019. Erika said she knows how important it is for us to keep the community connected with other organizations for resources as COVID continues to change our world.
Using our proven engagement strategy of artist-driven and resident-led projects, we maximized ideas and opportunities and created new streams of collaboration.
Along with our team’s weekly “huddle” via zoom, we also initiated a bi-weekly zoom meet up with East Chattanooga nonprofits and partners. This has been an incredible space that may not have existed with such regularity and vulnerability if not for the pandemic. Each time we gather around our screens to connect during these lunchtime “Eat n Meets”, we are able to hear from other organizations and what they are doing and needing to serve the community. It has been an incredible space for collaborating and helping spread the word for resources like free WiFi in our pocket park, and other important info sources.
If you are interested in partnering up with us in East Chattanooga and want to join in our next Zoom Eat n Meet please email us and we’ll send you a link! firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Eat n Meet became the perfect platform to fine-tune some ideas that were proposed to the community from our partners at CDOT and Pop Up Project. Thanks to everyone’s care and attention, The Rolling Surprise went through a few changes, but it did eventually roll through Glass Farm and that was amazing!
“Understanding community needs in an always changing environment can be difficult but because we formed relationships with residents and stakeholders, calling and checking in on them led to most of our creative solutions,” said Teal Thibaud, Glass House Collective’s co-founder and executive director.
Erika, who is also a poet and creator of Velvet Poetry Productions, nourished us with a new written series that was a direct response to the shutdown. For 11 weeks we were proud to publish Erika’s Blog Takeover + Reflection, to the Collectively Speaking blog and pull inspiration from the words of this strong black creative leader each week.
“As a Black woman with a voice, I naturally want to be heard. In a world that doesn’t consistently listen to the voices of Black or Brown people, it is refreshing to be heard. The blog takeover and the extension of that into an upcoming new written series “Heard + Amplified” show that intentionality,” Erika said.
Check out the links to some of the other projects we’ve kept busy with the last 6 months.
Through it all, we are learning so much but we know this: it is amazing what we can create together even at a distance for the greater good when aligned with passionate neighbors and partners. The pandemic has taught us all that it is more important than ever to meet people where they are in this new normal, and work collectively with compassion to hear, allow, and act!